ITS, Libraries Deliver Tech Essentials for Finals

ITS and the University Libraries are preparing to make sure that students have access to the software and hardware they need to prepare for finals. (Photo by Mark McCarty)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 1, 2018) — The days are growing longer and the weather is finally getting warmer. At UAlbany, it’s a sure sign that final exams are just around the corner. With Reading Day set for Thursday, May 10, ITS and the University Libraries are preparing to make sure that students have access to the software and hardware they need to prepare for the end of the spring semester.

In addition to offering extended hours before and during final exams, the libraries are also home to the Information Commons, which provide students internet-accessible computers, research resources, study space, and printers. An extensive collection of University-licensed software is available on the computers in the Information Commons.

In addition, tech help consultants are available in all three library locations to assist with ITS-provided services, such as MyUAlbany, electronic file storage and wireless access. But if a study space is unavailable in the Information Commons, all three libraries also feature laptops that can be borrowed from the reference desk.

But did you also know that UAlbany’s software licenses provides any student with the option to download the most popular programs to your own devices for free?

At UAlbany, Information Technology Services has a large catalog of programs to help meet your needs. From the Microsoft Office suite to Skype for Business, the software solution is just a click away for students, faculty and staff.

If your need is for Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint or OneDrive, all it takes is a valid UAlbany email account and you are in business. The Office 365 suite can be installed on as many as 10 devices, and can be used even when you’re not online. And considering the licenses can continue to be used as long as you maintain a university email account, the benefit to using your own device is unmistakable.

Speaking of business, Skype for Business provides several communication and collaboration features to keep you connected, including instant messaging, audio-only calls from your computer or mobile device, or video calls from your computer or mobile device.

ITS has also licensed a host of specialized programs for use by students, faculty and staff across a number of disciplines. This includes SAS, a statistical analysis program that provides high level analysis for entering, retrieving and managing sets of data. The software is widely used among students and faculty at the School of Public Health.

At the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, students and faculty use the technical computing program MATLAB to help introduce concepts of engineering design.

“MATLAB helps us provide a foundation in how mathematics and machine learning algorithms are used by engineers every day,” said Siwei Lyu, associate professor of computer science at CEAS who leads the Computer Vision and Machine Learning Lab at UAlbany.

Lyu and his students may use MATLAB to analyze if images and videos posted online have been altered, or transportation congestion problems in large urban areas. The program’s capabilities are only limited by the imagination of the software user.

Students, faculty and staff also have access to Blackboard, a learning environment that can be used to deliver online courses, along with a host of other capabilities. As the University’s course management system, Blackboard hosts more than 1,000 class sections taught by hundreds of faculty at UAlbany.

Beyond the classroom, Blackboard has become a favorite tool of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) to support experiential learning.

“Blackboard is a lifesaver for me when it comes to our training program,” said Emily Barrett, director of Experiential Learning and External Partnerships at CEHC. “We use it to communicate to our students without a listserv, including internship announcements, training announcements and registration.”

Blackboard is also used to track experiential training hours, allowing for students to submit their training forms and certificates directly through the online platform.

But what if that program you need isn’t on the list of the University’s ITS Software Catalog? You can also check out the offerings available through the OnTheHub network, which offers many popular software programs for personal use at a substantial discount over the retail rate.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.